Looking for the best things to do in London in August? Don’t miss the best things to see and do in the capital this month with this handy guide.
Hello August, it’s nice to see you again.
We don’t like to play favourites, but we’re pretty confident that August is the best time to be in London. Don’t believe us? These are the very best things to keep on your radar this month.
Things to do in London in August
Drink The Great British Beer Festival Dry
1st – 5th August
This beer festival has been described as the world’s largest pub. If that doesn’t pique your interests you might as well move on to the next segment (and maybe have a good hard look in the mirror).
Its full title is The Great British Beer Festival and it’s basically an annual gathering of some of the brightest minds in brewing. There’s said to be more than a thousand different drinks on offer (including ciders and perries should you want to branch out a little.
CAMRA are the folks who put it on so you know you’ll be in good hands with the brews. Oh and you get a souvenir beer glass with your tickets.
Do the New Sherlock Holmes Escape Room Experience
From 2nd August
This month sees the opening of a brand new (and very exciting) escape room in London. The Mind of Moriarty: Live Escape Experience taps into the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes to create an experience that’s set to be a total thrill fest.
It comes from the same people that do Sherlock: The Official Live Game – an escape room that comes highly recommended – so you can expect this one to pack a similar punch when it comes to entertainment
This time you’ll be pitting your wits against Holmes’ arch nemesis – the criminal mastermind Moriarty.
Take a Dip in the Thames
Open throughout August and September
With London’s weather heating up in recent weeks, it’s very tempting to take a dip in open water – but it’s so vital to be careful. Which is why it’s so great that Canary Wharf has opened up a safe open water swimming zone.
In partnership with Love Open Water and the Canal & River Trust, the open water space is 600-metres long, and is safe to be used by anyone over the age of ten who can swim confidently. Lifeguards are also on hand to provide assistance if needed.
To access the swimming pool, you need to purchase a £15 NOWCA membership card and then you will have access to more than 40 pools.
Attend the Tête à Tête Opera Festival
Throughout August and September
The Tête à Tête Opera Festival has returned to the capital and it’s one of the best London in August events on the calendar, we think.
Led by Artistic Director Bill Bankes-Jones and Music Director Timothy Burke, the company creates inclusive operas, giving opportunities for people from all kinds of backgrounds.
The result? Culturally-rich stories told in a stunning way.
August highlights include The Last Siren, a performance about two stunningly voiced monsters that sing sailors to their deaths at sea and an operatic adaptation of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
Indulge in Afternoon Tea Week
7th – 13th August
It’s no secret that us British folk love afternoon tea… so is it really a surprise that we’ve dedicated an entire week to the good stuff? We don’t think so either.
It can be a bit overwhelming trying to pick a spot in the capital, as there are so many fabulous hotels and restaurants serving afternoon tea, but we’ve tasted a fair few over the years and think we know the very best places.
First up: Sketch. We’ll forget about their controversial decision to redecorate the pink room (we’re still heartbroken, tbh) and say that they know how to make an exciting afternoon tea. Classics with an eccentric Sketch twist, plus a whole host of hot drinks, cocktails, and champagne to choose from.
Afternoon tea at The Ritz is an oldie but a goodie. If you’re looking for a quintessential British experience, you’ll find it here. Plus a whole load of glamour. Other honourable mentions go out to the Charlie and The Chocolate Factory Experience and Farmacy.
Vegan? Don’t fret, there are plenty of places for you to get your fix, too.
Read More: The Best Places for Afternoon Tea in London
Enjoy Free Live Music at Summer Sounds Music Festival
9th – 20th August
Head to Coal Drops Yard this August for a festival with a line-up that rivals the biggies – though, we’re most excited for The Sound of Black Britain, Brass Rascals and Ida Mae.
Summer Sounds will host outdoor concerts every evening from 6.30pm to 8.30pm and from 1pm to 6pm on ‘Family Sundays’. Expect an eclectic mix of music from genres as diverse as opera and soul, classical and dance, all completely free of charge.
See Sinatra by Candlelight
You must have heard of Candlelight. They’ve become basically one of the hottest concert organisers in London for putting on these stunning musical performances on candlelit stages.
They cover everything from favourite film scores to hits by bands like Fleetwood Mac and performers like Taylor Swift and Beyonce. This August it’s Frank Sinatra’s turn to be given the candlelight treatment.
Obviously it’s not really Frank, he’s sadly no longer with us but the very talented James Hudson Band will be filling in for him and belting out all the classics from My Way to Moon River.
Drink Cocktails in the City
17th – 19th August
Cocktails in the City returns for the second week out of three in 2023 with a high-class booze-fest featuring some of the best names in the business of mixing drinks.
Bedford Square Gardens will once again be overtaken – and with a bar line-up boasting Coupette, Flight Club, Callooh Callay, and Viajante 87, is it any wonder we are so hyped?
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, you’ll also be able to enjoy street food, live music, and a silent disco. See ya there.
Check out Waterstones’ Bookfest
16th + 17th August
Bookworms, this one’s for you. It’s the second iteration of Waterstones’ annual Bookfest. They’re gathering a bunch of authors from a whole range of genres of writing together for two days of talks and activities.
Among the names in attendance are fantasy authors A.Y. Chao who wrote Shanghai Immortal, Hannah Kaner of Godkiller and Chloe Gong who’ll be along to discuss her book Flesh and False Gods.
Other people to look out for are authors of Girl, Goddess, Queen, Bea Fitzgerald, and Kika Hatzopoulou who penned Threads That Bind.
Peruse an Exhibition of the History of British Skateboarding
17th August – 10th September
There’s a very cool exhibition in London this August. It’s called London Calling and it’s charting the history of British skateboarding from its origins as an underground sport all the way up to its inclusion in the Olympics.
The story is told through some pretty cool photography that dates right back to the 70s. There’s even some never-before-seen images of London’s first ever skate park.
On top of that you’ll be able to check out old boards and merchandise from the early days, and hobnob with some old pros during the opening days.
Explore the History of Fuji Music
18th – 28th August
The Africa Centre is putting on a ten-day exhibition of Fuji music this month. That’s a very culturally important genre of music hailing from Nigeria that has probably had more of an influence on your listening habits than you realise.
The style became popular in the 60s for its up beat improvisational rhythms and went on to be a highly influential movement. Ever plugged in a bit of Burna Boy? How about Wizkid? In fact pretty much any Afrobeats artist that’s hot right now will have been influenced by Fuji.
This exhibition uses items, archival footage and sounds to take you on a tour of the genre’s history.
Party at All Points East
18th – 28th August
The lineup this year begins with Stormzy and Sampha and continues on a two-weekend tour de force of music’s biggest names.
The Strokes, Erykah Badu, Haim, Bonobo, Aphex Twin – the list is truly exhaustive. If you like your festivals, you’ll want to be here this summer.
Party to DnB at Hospitality in the Woods
Beckenham Place Park
There’s no shortage of festivals over the London summer but one that you really don’t want to miss if you like a killer party is Hospitality in the Woods. This one-day festival takes over the rolling hills and woodlands of Beckenham Place Park and turns it into a mecca for drum and bass.
The organisers are none other than Hospitality Records, a label that’s been instrumental in the London DnB scene and who have over a decade of experience throwing parties just like this all round the world.
The lineup for this one features names like Netsky, Roni Size, High Contrast and a host more folks playing across five radically designed stages. In short, it’s going to kick off.
See Vauxhall go Victorian
Fancy seeing what London looked like during the Victorian era? You need to head down to Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens on the 26th. They’re putting on a vintage fair that’s truly vintage.
If you didn’t know already, Vauxhall’s pleasure gardens used to be an area for Victorian society to mingle, see shows, drink a bit too much and often engage in some rather sordid acts.
Vauxhall have decided that they want to give us a glimpse of what that looked like (without all the sordidness of course) and are getting a bunch of people to put on shows, cook up feasts, and generally galavant about in full Victorian garb. It sounds like quite a laugh.
Party at Notting Hill Carnival
27th – 28th August
This is your reminder that one of the top August events in London is BACK!
Since 1966 Notting Hill Carnival has taken over the streets of Notting Hill for a weekend in August, and after a two year hiatus (we wonder why, hmm) it’s back IRL this year and we couldn’t be more excited.
The celebration of all things Caribbean culture will bring, music, dance, carnival, and street food to Notting Hill – and you do not want to miss it.
Hit the Revival of Bartholomew Fair
The City of London
31st August – 16th September
Way back when, the Bartholomew Fair was a calendar event for London, and when we say way back we mean 1133. It actually ran right up until 1885 meaning it was a tradition that lasted about 750 years.
Well now it’s getting a revival, and a slight modern touch. You can expect to see dancers suspended from St Pauls, to meet with historical figures from London’s past who’ll recount you stories of their lives, to take late-night art walks of the city and heaps more.
It’s an event worth waiting a century for.
Eat Yourself Silly at Meatopia
31st August – 3rd September
Meatopia – a marathon of the finest grilled meat eatin’ this city knows, a foodie event that gets us salivating like animals and an enormous homage to the cooking prowess of the barbeque.
For the final day of the month you’ll find Tobacco Dock taken over by a bunch of chefs that know how to work absolute magic with a fire, some logs and some coals. Previous cooks have included Francis Mallmann, Yotam Ottolenghi and Fergus Henderson to name a few.
This year new kid on the curry house block Empire Empire are manning a pit and famed American BBQ master Tuffy Stone will be joining a list of talent too long to replicate here. Just know it’s going to be spectacular.
Practical Tips for Exploring London in August
- London can get super hot in August – we don’t want to sound like naggy Nelly’s but keep a bottle of water on you and wear sun cream.
- Notting Hill Carnival weekend is one of the best times to visit the capital, but also one of the busiest. Expect higher hotel prices and very busy tube lines. Worth it though, we think.